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Publisher's Summary

Anne Perry’s spellbinding Victorian mysteries, especially those featuring William Monk, have enthralled listeners for a generation. The Plain Dealer calls Monk “a marvelously dark, brooding creation” - and, true to form, this Perry masterpiece is as deceptively deep and twisty as the Thames.

As commander of the River Police, Monk is accustomed to violent death, but the mutilated female body found on Limehouse Pier one chilly December morning moves him with horror and pity. The victim’s name is Zenia Gadney. Her waterfront neighbors can tell him little - only that the same unknown gentleman had visited her once a month for many years. She must be a prostitute, but - described as quiet and kempt - she doesn’t appear to be a fallen woman.

What sinister secrets could have made poor Zenia worth killing? And why does the government keep interfering in Monk’s investigation?

While the public cries out for blood, Monk, his spirited wife, Hester, and their brilliant barrister friend, Oliver Rathbone, search for answers. From dank waterfront alleys to London’s fabulously wealthy West End, the three trail an ice-blooded murderer toward the unbelievable, possibly unprovable truth - and ultimately engage their adversaries in an electric courtroom duel. But unless they can work a miracle, a monumental evil will go unpunished and an innocent person will hang.

Anne Perry has never worn her literary colors with greater distinction than in A Sunless Sea, a heart-pounding novel of intrigue and suspense in which Monk is driven to make the hardest decision of his life.

©2012 Anne Perry (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Riveting

What made the experience of listening to A Sunless Sea the most enjoyable?

I love the Monk books.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes. This plot was interesting with many twists and turns.

What about Ralph Lister’s performance did you like?

Not a whole lot. Not my favorite performer.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did not have an extreme reaction to this book, unless you count surprise as an extreme reaction.

Any additional comments?

Anne Perry is one of my favorite writers. She is a master at twisting and turning a plot, and this book was no exception. I never saw the ending of this book coming.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Excellent entry in the series

I was really absorbed by this entry in the William Monk series. Fascinating information about the use of opium in England during the 1860's underpins the story. Perry's research, as always, is spot-on.

This book prominently features Monk's and Hester's friend Rathbone, which turns it into largely a courtroom drama, but Monk and Hester and even Monk's old boss Runcorn make pivotal appearances throughout. We are able to pick up the events following the outcome of the last book (Acceptable Loss) and see how Rathbone is faring.

I wanted to say that I have become accustomed to Ralph Lister's narration now after two books (following many with David Colacci), and I think he is doing an excellent job.

I have read or listened to most of the books in this series, and would recommend that a newcomer to Monk's story read at least the book previous to this one before reading this entry. Monk has a fascinating backstory, and I recommend them all. The gritty world of mid-Victorian England is portrayed amazingly well and the characters are true to life.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Anne Perry at her finest - ditch the narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Sure. Anne Perry is great as a book but gripping as an audiobook

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Sunless Sea?

Not sure. Too many `moments`

What didn’t you like about Ralph Lister’s performance?

I am amazed at his wide range or English accents and male/female characterizations but sometimes way too dramatic, hard to catch some inflections and he talks like he has too much saliva in his mouth. In person I would expect to be sprayed by his speech!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No - but I did experience frustration at the court room scene taking SO LONG. I get it that Anne Perry is trying to stretch out tension but maybe her editor should have chopped off a few pages....boring!! And just frustration for no good reason.

Any additional comments?

Anne Perry is good - love her social commentary. But dump Margaret as a character - she sounds weird choosing her pedophile dad over her husband. The reader starts to wonder about what is up with her. While in that day and age sheltered women were like her - as part of the Monk series women like that need to be deleted. Not interesting and takes away from Oliver`s taste in people.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I get it! I get it! I get it!!

I quit three hours from the end. However a worthy story this is -- and it is, it's a fascinating topic, a little-known issue from Victorian times, and interesting in light of contemporary issues with the popularity of unregulated "natural" remedies of all kinds -- I just couldn't deal with it anymore. If I had to listen to one more minute of narrator Ralph Lister's overwrought and agonizing reading of paragraph after paragraph of the suffering of people who are coming off addiction to narcotic drugs, I was gonna need some Prozac myself. Sheesh!! Too much, way too much!!

How many times, and out of how many difference character's mouths, do we have to be told about the harmful effects of opium -- followed by equally repetitive explanations about how essential it is, especially for poor people who have no other way of alleviating pain? Over and over and over.... I get it!

Part of the problem is that this isn't a "William Monk" book, not really -- it's an Oliver Rathbone book, Rathbone the lawyer, so it's more of a legal "thriller" (that doesn't even begin to thrill). I love the 'Monk' character, I like the books where he's solving mysterious crimes in foggy London town, I love the interaction with the spirited Hester, I love her tales of what happened in the Crimea. I don't love listening to the whole story first, then having it repeated, over and over and over, through this witness, then that, in the apparent endless recounting of the jury trial.

Part of it is, for a lawyer as well experienced as is the venerable Oliver Rathbone, there's no way in Gd's green earth that he'd fall into open pits of despair, over and over and over, when one witness or another fails to say exactly what he wanted them to say. In spite of what we're told, no lawyer is going to express that kind of anxiety over one trial in his career, let alone one witness. It's just silliness to suggest that he/she would.

Overwrought, that's what this book is. Too many emotions, too extreme to be believed, and with that supremely frenzied and agitated narrator? Whew. Couldn't finish it.

I like Anne Perry's books. Just not this one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-16-12

Opium and drug label laws

Anne Perry has the ability to make you feel as if you are living in the 1860's London. This story has less of Hester and more about Monk and Oliver Rathbone. Monk is working on a horrible murder at Limestone Pier of Zenia Gadney as he arrest one women for the murder she asks Monk if he will ask Rathbone to defend her. Runcorn from the metropolitan police and Monk's old boss work together to solve the death of Gadney's husband a doctor working to gather information for the drug act. The historical component of the story is based on the attempts to pass a drug label and purity act. The story winds around the problem of opium and the deaths of children and the addiction problems in adults. The story briefly touches on the opium wars with China. Perry also points out that it was England that brought opium from India to China to pay for trade goods. It was one of England's most shameful time in its history. The last half of the book is dramatic courtroom drama with Rathbone for the defense. Perry has all her usual twists, turns and interesting plot but at times it slows a bit with repetition or maybe it is only me as I have listening to all of the Monk series books. Ralph Lister did an okay job narrating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Vicki
  • Montpelier, VA, United States
  • 05-08-16

One of the best in the Monk series

I keep expecting to get tired of the William Monk series but Anne Perry continues to surprise me. I think this was one of the best in the series overall. Having just finished Dreamland about our current heroine addiction problems, I found this tale of similar issues in the 1860's very interesting. Anne Perry clearly does a lot of research on her subject and the time period.

I did not hate the narrator the way that some have mentioned. He wasn't bad at all but he wasn't my favorite narrator in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stevie
  • TOPEKA, KANSAS, United States
  • 11-10-12

good series addition, not a good stand alone story

Monk, Hester and all others have contributions to this story, Everyone is warmer and softer, a lot of reference to past stories. Moved slowly, good book but not as good as other Monk books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • NCKitkat
  • Goldsboro, NC, United States
  • 09-05-12

Fast-moving story, excellent narration

This was one of Anne Perry's best; a well-crafted story, with references back to other characters and times, but only just enough for the story at hand. The narrator was excellent; the way he changed characters was good, but the inflections of his voice for the story kept it alive. I am only sorry that I have finished the book!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Opted Not To Finish It

I never completed listening to this book as I became like a crazed woman every time Anne Perry's characters continually ruminated and questioned everything at every turn in this book. I had forgotten how she can drag out every scene with the same repetitive nonsense which fills up the pages (or hours) but does nothing to enhance the story. It is too bad as she IS able to take you to another time with an interesting storyline but then ruins it by having her characters think incessantly in questions. "I wonder this, I don't know that, I think this and Could it be, Would it be, Should I go or stay or.....JUST GIVE UP! That was the question I finally answered by downloading a different book.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Ralph is getting the drift! (mild spoiler alert)

Having struggled with the previous Ralph Lister readings of this series, I am thrilled to hear the change in his delivery. He no longer makes all the men growl and the women high-pitched and insipid. He's brought the characters to life in this rendition. Nice addition to the series. Anne keeps developing her characters in realistic fashion. Especially Runcorn this time, and his renewed relationship woth Monk.